The Post-Communion Canticles found in the Lutheran Service Book reflect not only the heart of God, the central focus of the Scriptures, and the core teaching of the Lutheran Confessions, but they also capture our identity during this Advent season and in the partnership we call the Texas District.
In Simeon’s song, the “Nunc Dimittis,” we hear: “Lord, now You let Your servant go in peace.”
Simeon gets it. He understood what Luther declared: “We are beggars, that is true.” Throughout the ages, the grace of God in Jesus Christ crucified and risen has put us in our place—in the best way possible. We broken and rebellious sinners are placed on the receiving end of the gift of forgiveness and life. It is unmerited and undeserved. We are servants, stewards of all God has given.
And so, “Thank the Lord” resounds:
“Thank the Lord and sing His praise; tell everyone what He has done.
Let all who seek the Lord rejoice and proudly bear His name.”
Having received the precious presence of Jesus, we are sent to tell everyone what He has done. We rejoice and proudly bear His name. This is mission—missio, apostello, shalach—the Biblical blessing of being “coworkers” of the Sending God. (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor. 6:1)
As a district, we combine our prayers, resources and efforts to “tell everyone what He has done,” and “to proudly bear His name.” Together, we help make liturgy true divine service as God’s gifts reverberate through us into our surrounding communities and into the lives of the millions of people in Texas who have not yet heard about Jesus.
Our Confessions underscore the importance of this canticle and our partnership. In the Large Catechism, Luther emphasized that God is angered if we trim back our mission boldness or vision. He noted that we must strengthen ourselves against the unbelief of putting mission anywhere but first in our prayers. Our Confessions implore us to pray that God’s Kingdom “may gain recognition and followers among other people and advance with power throughout the world.” (LC 52)
So, we pray, we tell, and we proudly bear His name—together as mission partners this Advent.
By: Rev. Michael W. Newman
Mission & Ministry Facilitator, Area C